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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cameron's 'The Tomb of Jesus' Sinks Like Titanic

"I regard Christianity as the most fatal, seductive lie that has ever existed." —Adolf Hitler, quoted in Larry Azar, Twentieth Century in Crisis (1990), p. 155.

On March 4, the Discovery Channel will air a James Cameron/ Simcha Jacobovici documentary called "The Lost Tomb of Jesus". The special attempts, with these new "findings", contradict the idea of Christ’s resurrection and takes massive liberties with other areas of Holy Scripture, Sacred Tradition and basic Christian belief.

Not wanting to waste a perfectly good opportunity to contradict 2000 years of evidence to the contrary, Cameron and the usual suspects raise questions about Jesus’ marital status and family status; enter Mary Magdalene and their son Jude. Right……..

The Catholic League issued this statement:

February 26, 2007


“Titanic” director James Cameron and TV-director Simcha
Jacobovici are claiming they have evidence of a Jerusalem tomb that allegedly
houses the remains of Jesus and his family. Commenting on this is Catholic
League president Bill Donohue:

“Not a Lenten season goes by without some author or TV
program seeking to cast doubt on the divinity of Jesus and/or the Resurrection.
Last April, NBC’s ‘Dateline’ featured the wholly discredited and downright
laughable claims of Michael Baigent, and two years ago ABC treated us to a
special that questioned every aspect of the Resurrection. Now we have the
Cameron-Jacobovici thesis.

“Israeli archeologist Amos Kloner was in charge of the
1980 investigation of the tomb that Cameron-Jacobovici have seized on 27 years
later to make their allegations. ‘The claim that the burial site has been found
is not based on any proof, and is only an attempt to sell,’ Kloner says. He
adds, ‘I refute all claims and efforts to waken a renewed interest in the
findings. With all due respect, they are not archeologists.’ Indeed, Kloner has
branded their claims ‘impossible’ and ‘nonsense.’ Moreover, he says there is ‘no
likelihood’ that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb. ‘It makes a great
story for a TV film,’ he concludes.

“Joe Zias, who spent a quarter-century as an archeologist
at the Rockefeller University in Jerusalem, said that ‘Simcha has no credibility
whatsoever.’ Zias isn’t shooting from the hip: Jacobovici’s credibility explodes
when one considers that he still believes the 2002 tale about an ossuary with
the inscription, ‘James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.’ On June 18, 2003, the
Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) condemned this claim as a modern forgery—this
was the unanimous decision of a 15-member IAA committee. Agreeing with this
decision were Harvard’s Frank Cross and Tel Aviv University professor Edward

“The Discovery Channel aired the 2002 hoax and now it’s
back with the Titanic fraud. It’s time the Discovery Channel discovered ethics
and stopped with the sensationalism.”

Dr. Ben Witherington, a Protestant Biblical scholar, has excellent and comprehensive commentary on his blog, to include:

First of all, I have worked with Simcha (Cameron’s filmmaker
cohort). He is a practicing Jew, indeed he is an orthodox Jew so far as I can
tell. He was the producer of the Discovery Channel special on the James ossuary
which I was involved with. He is a good film maker, and he knows a good
sensational story when he sees one. This is such a story.

1) The statistical analysis is of course only as good as
the numbers that were provided to the statistician. He couldn’t run numbers he
did not have. And when you try to run numbers on a combination name such as
‘Jesus son of Joseph’ you decrease the statistical sample dramatically. In fact,
in the case of ‘Jesus son of Joseph’ you decrease it to a statistically
insignificant number! Furthermore, so far as we can tell, the earliest followers
of Jesus never called Jesus ‘son of Joseph’. It was outsiders who mistakenly
called him that! Would the family members such as James who remained in
Jerusalem really put that name on Jesus’ tomb when they knew otherwise? This is
highly improbable. My friend Richard Bauckham provides me with the following

2) There is no independent DNA control sample to compare
to what was garnered from the bones in this tomb……

3) Several of these ossuaries have very popular and
familiar early Jewish names. As the statistics above show, the names Joseph and
Joshua (Jesus) were two of the most common names in all of early Judaism. So was
Mary. Indeed both Jesus’ mother and her sister were named Mary. This is the
ancient equivalent of finding adjacent tombs with the names Smith and Jones.

4) The historical problems with all this are too numerous
to list here: the ancestral home of Joseph was Bethlehem, and his adult
home was Nazareth.... Why in the world would be be buried (alone at this
point) in Jerusalem? ....We have no historical evidence of such a son of
Jesus, indeed we have no historical evidence he was ever married. ....the
name Mary is about the most common of all ancient Jewish female names....
By all ancient accounts, the tomb of Jesus was empty-- even the Jewish and Roman
authorities acknowledged this... Implicitly you must accuse James,
Peter and John (mentioned in Gal. 1-2-- in our earliest NT document from 49
A.D.) of fraud and coverup. Are we really to believe that they knew Jesus didn't
rise bodily from the dead but perpetrated a fraudulent religion, for which they
and others were prepared to die? Did they really hide the body of Jesus in
another tomb?

5) One more thing of importance. The James ossuary,
according to the report of the antiquities dealer that Oded Golan got the
ossuary from, said that the ossuary came from Silwan, not Talpiot, and had dirt
in it that matched up with the soil in that particular spot in Jerusalem. In
fact Oded confirmed this to me personally when I spoke with him at an SBL

6) What should we make of James Tabor’s being co-opted into this
project? You will remember his book which came out last year The Jesus Dynasty.
In that book he had quite a good deal to say about the Talpiot Tomb, and about
Panthera being the father of Jesus, and about Jesus being buried in Galilee, and
of course nothing about a ossuary which claims that Joseph is the father of


At the risk of being accused of shooting the messengers, James Tabor (who collaborated on The Tomb of Jesus) authored The Jesus Dynasty and is part of a long lineage of Christian conspiracy theorists. Simcha Jacobovici is a practicing Jew. James Cameron has long been critical of Christianity and despite the success of Titanic was widely ostracized for his many artistic and historical liberties taken in that epic film. This is a man, married five times, who sustained an ongoing affair with Titanic actress Suzy Amis (old Rose's granddaughter) while married to Linda Hamilton. Personal conduct aside, it's fair to say he has no vested interest in preserving any historical context in his newest "documentary".

Essentially, these attacks on the faith and fidelity of Christ are par for the course. Every year during Lent, some sensational piece of conjecture raises its ugly head in an attempt to discredit the basic foundations of Christianity: the resurrection, deity of Christ and his sexuality. Last year it was The DaVinci Code and The Gospel of Judas. NBC’s Will & Grace aired an episode starring Britney Spears called "Cruxi-fixin’s" on April 13 , just before Good Friday. Around the same time, ABC’s Desperate Housewives ran a Catholic smear campaign.

Jesus was on trial as Italian atheist Luigi Cascioli, who marketed "The God Who Wasn't There", brought suit against the Catholic Church for perpetuating a fraud, questioning the existence of Jesus . He lost, Jesus won.

What's going on is very much like that final scene in "The Passion" when Jesus died and Satan was left to be tormented by his own failure to defeat the Lord. These little pot shots at Christ inevitably fail because docudramas cannot compare with billions of Christians over 2000 years and the immeasurable impact they have had on history.

Cross-posted @: Bottom Line Up Front